The vultures are circling over Donald Trump
Ten days ago I pointed to the rising number of unpopular also-rans like Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Ted Cruz who were leaking their plans to run for President in 2024. It couldn’t be more clear that these folks expect Donald Trump be taken off the table by DOJ indictment and conviction, leaving the field wide open.
Now things seem to be escalating rather quickly. Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley both leaked to the media yesterday they’re each considering running for President in 2024. This is remarkable given that Rubio seemed to hate going through the motions of running for President last time, and that Haley has become a complete punchline among those who even remember that she exists.
The 2024 Republican field is quickly heading toward 2016 clown car territory, where every unpopular, idiotic, and desperate Republican out there ran for President simply because the field was wide open enough for each of them to find a bit of a foothold.
What’s notable is that the 2024 Republican field is filling up so quickly, even before Trump is indicted. None of them are even waiting for it to happen. The vultures saw Trump’s 2024 faux-announcement land with a thud, they know the public is perceiving Trump’s “campaign” as little more than an attempt at pretending he’s not going down, and these candidates are ready to get this dumpster fire going.
Most of these also-ran candidates are either too widely disliked, or have long ago faded too far into irrelevance, or are too fatally flawed by things like past scandal or cardboard personality, and have no chance of even coming close to winning the Republican nomination.
But when also-rans enter a wide open presidential field, the point isn’t necessarily to win. That would be nice, but they know the odds are overwhelmingly against them. The point is to make sure their unsuccessful campaign makes it all the way to the Iowa caucus so they can drop out, so they can then land a lucrative book deal worth millions. Then they can cash in the editorial favors they built up during their campaign to line up promotional interviews for their book launch. It’s how the game is played.
Of course that kind of scheme only works when there’s no clear favorite in the field to begin with. A wide open field means that the media (and donors) will end up feeling compelled to split their attention among numerous candidates, which allows unpopular candidates to limp along forever, even if they’re polling at something like 2% the entire time. They’ll just say, “Somebody has to win this. Why not me?”
This means that these also-ran candidates don’t expect Donald Trump to be anywhere near the proceedings by the time the 2024 presidential primary season actually gets underway. And they’re correct. What’s Trump going to do, try to participate in a primary debate while under house arrest awaiting trial? Even if Trump refuses to go away while he’s going down, at some point his continued attempt at a “campaign” will become impractical and farcical.
This also suggests that these other candidates don’t think much of Ron DeSantis’ 2024 prospects. The media seems desperate to crown him as the de facto 2024 frontrunner the minute Trump is indicted. But DeSantis keeps revealing that he’s an insecure idiot who’s in way over his head. Even if he runs in 2024, he’s not going to run away with the Republican nomination. The field is going to be wide open. Even the also-ran vultures can see it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report